Individual Writing Tips

And It Was Just Right

Twisted Plots

One Perfect Rose

Don’t Skin the Cat!


Becoming a Hero

Climbing Up to Kaboom

Rise up & Commit

Foiled Plans

Lights, Camera, Kickoff

Fixing the Most Common Intermediate Mistake

The Most Common Intermediate Mistake

The Art & Necessity of Critique

Set up & Pay Off

A POV Footnote

Single Spy to a Teeming Hoarde

Tense Persons


High Concept

Scoring in the Elevator

Show and Tell

Taking Out the Trash

Tale of Two Synopsises

Rising to the Occasion

Middle-of-the-Novel mud

Doghouse on Malibu Beach

Taking Away the Easy Button

Pitching to the Pros

Hunting for an agent

Playing for higher stakes

Exploding writing myths

Are you the next American Idol?

A Time to Write

TV or Not TV

What Colour Hat Does Your Universe Wear?

How Big a Hammer?

The Irrational Optimism of Writers

The Pesky Typo Hunt

A Point of

Making Your Reader Believe

The Art and Necessity of Critique: Part 2

The Art and Necessity of Critique: Part 1

Writing the Other

Beating the evil TV

Badge & Handcuffs

The Editor is Never Wrong, Mostly

Do You Want a Cookie?

But What Do the Trees Say?

Writing the Dread Synopsis

Writing Children's vs. Adult Books

Writing tip for Summer ’04

A point of E-tiquette:does your T-shirt have holes in it?

The other day I received an email from (at a guess) a very nice kid in his teens, who identified himself as a writer and wanted to ask a few questions.  His email was polite, friendly, fluent…and so full of such painfully obvious spelling errors that it was, frankly, comical in a way he hadn’t intended.  I answered his questions, and threw in for free the information (phrased as kindly as I could) that if he wanted people to take him seriously as a writer he should probably run the spellchecker over his emails.  He emailed back his thanks—he really was a nice kid—and he had run the spellchecker, so this time the errors were the kind of typos that a spellchecker misses.

OK, most of this kid’s written communication probably takes place in chat rooms, where spelling all but ceases to exist, but still…  Your email represents you, just like your clothing does, so consider:

Are there people, family and close friends, that you don’t mind seeing you in baggy sweats?  Sure there are—but when I’m going to the grocery store I change into jeans, and I bet you do too.  Slacks and a nice shirt are pretty much the minimum business attire, and if it’s someone you want to really impress, make sure your email looks as sharp as you can make it—because I promise, people will judge you by your email just like they do by your clothing.  So next time you start to send an email, think about what kind of clothing you would wear to deal with this person, and dress up a bit—remember, your email represents you